Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Deirdre Sargent: Laughter is the key

Many of my friends are costumed re-enactors of various sorts at various locations and times of the year. Most of my writer friends qualify as characters, no matter what they're wearing. The wild and crazy—dare I say it—wacky Deirdre Sargent is one of several who manages to do both. She also writes with the intensity of a frenzied chihuahua.  And she's a red-head, so you'd better listen.

[By now you've probably realized that the Treehouse, my online writing support group, is home to more than a few nuts. Why do you think we need the support?]


Maggie asked me to write a guest blog and I was excited to plunge into the pool of bad ideas that I call my brain. My mental swimming pool is full of inflatable pool toys at the moment that represent the books I’m pushing out the door in the next few months, as well as a few writing panels I need to prepare for over Memorial Day weekend. The Barbie that has sunk to the bottom of the pool represents the Gothic steampunk short story I need to finish before the Memorial Day convention and the hyperactive pool boy named Sven who keeps bringing me drinks with no booze represents my current Xbox addiction that distracts me from writing. By now you must think I’m crazy.

You are not alone. I think I’m crazy. My cat definitely thinks I’m crazy. I've had my butt glued in this chair for the past two days writing. I haven’t taken a shower for longer than that. It has almost become a weird baseball “luck” thing. You know those ballplayers who wear the same underwear for all of their games and refuse to wash it because it has winning mojo? Well, I told myself I wasn’t taking a shower or washing my hair until I finished the first book I needed to get out the door. Fortunately for the sake of the entire neighborhood and my cat’s sanity, I finished this morning and promptly took a shower. The cat sat on the toilet and studiously stared at the curtain as if her x-ray vision would scrub the dirt off my skin faster.

Hell, the houses next door were on fire and I didn’t even notice until seven fire trucks were literally parked outside my house. What makes writing so fascinating that it would turn me into Howard Hughes only without the money or the obsessive compulsive hand-washing? Writing is about experiencing life and life is pretty damn fascinating. Here are the bits that I have found help me on a daily basis.

Writing is part talent, part habit, and part lunacy. Don’t get me wrong, you need to have a voice in order to be a good writer however everyone’s voice is different. I will never be John Steinbeck but other people will never be me no matter how hard they try. Find your voice, the voice that makes you unique and you are half way there.

Take inspiration from life. Do you have insane cousins who banged each other at a family reunion? Did your roommate ever pee on your cat? Did you ever pee on your roommate’s cat? Did you ever think a duck ate your nose while high on THC-laced orange juice? You didn’t? OK, then maybe you need some other friends or family because all that shit happened to me. Honestly, people are freaky. Just keep your eyes open and a notebook handy. Things will happen that make some great ideas for stories that you never would have thought were possible.

Be true to yourself. Let’s face it—you are all you have. Sure it’s nice to have a spouse or a kid or better yet a Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy named Dylan but at the end of the day, they aren't going to write anything for you. If they do and you put your name on it, well that’s plagiarism and your peers will look down on your with mocking derision. You need to write from your soul about what excites you. Let’s face it, if you’re bored writing it, we are bored reading it.
Writing is work. Be prepared to give up your social life, your gym schedule, and your jaunts to Monte Carlo. You will be spending a lot of time staring at a computer and even more thinking “Damn, this is shit! Why am I even doing this?” That’s part of it and you just have to tell your Negative Nelly self to shut up and keep writing. You will get through it. It just takes work.

There is no right way. Some people write in the morning, others write at night and I write until my pitcher of martinis runs out and then play Xbox. Find what works for you but just remember to write something every day. If you are going to let your writing slide, it will slide right out of your life.
Love yourself. Really, after all the abuse, late nights, Cheetos binges, and moments of self-loathing you need to appreciate yourself for the creative soul you are. Most people go their entire lives without doing anything creative or honest; you are doing both. When you write, you are opening a small window into your soul. Most people are not brave enough to do that so celebrate that vibrant side of you.
The most important thing to remember is to laugh. Laugh at yourself, laugh at others, laugh at nothing. Laughter is a great gift. Look around you, there is some funny shit out thereHoney Badger, Grumpy Cat and that talking baby on the finance commercials to name a few. Laugh a bit each day and it will really help, honest. Now go out there and write like a honey badger because honey badgers don’t give a shit!

Deirdre Sargent is the author of The Squirrel Stole My Thong and Other Reasons I’m Still Single as well as a series of humorous Disney travel guides. A professional actor, writer and corset-wearing diva.

Deirdre is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She has been entertaining vast audiences with her wit, anecdotes and her ability to bend time and space for longer than she can remember. Currently Deirdre is working on her new adult satirical humor book I’m Bitchy Because I’m Starving and her humorous travelogue The Mouse Ate My Wallet, plus an anthology of Gothic fairy tales with a steampunk flavor Toxic Tales in a Tangled Garden.

She lives in geek grrl splendor with her Xbox 360, portable Tardis, and her lard ass cat Alia (aka The Abomination) On a good day, you can find her hanging out at Stately Wayne Manor, avoiding commando attack squirrels or having a Chamborlada at the Forbidden Island in Alameda.

Somewhat more reliably, you can find Deirdre on her website 
Or give in and Follow her on Facebook

No comments:

Post a Comment